Start School Year Bedtime Routine Now

During the summer months, it can be easy to let the kids sleep in and stay up longer.

But that puts their circadian rhythms out of sync. Parents need to start readjusting their child’s bedtime routine now, during the last weeks of summer, in order to ensure their child has a proper night’s rest to face a school day. “Research shows that children who are well rested are more focused and do better in school,” said Dr. Subha Rajan, MD, ThedaCare Physicians-New London.

School-aged children need between 10 and 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Make a gradual shift by putting children go to bed 20 to 30 minutes earlier each night. Also adjust the wake-up time by the same amount. “If they go to bed 30 minutes earlier then they need to get up 30 minutes earlier,” said Dr. Rajan.

Consistency is also key to getting back on track. As summer melts away, it might be tempting to let a late night or two slip. “If they do get to stay up late, it should not be more than an hour or two past normal bedtime,” said Dr. Rajan. “Also only allow an hour of extra sleep in the morning.”

It is important to establish a bedtime routine, and stick to it. The routine could include a wind-down period, maybe with s story time, and regular bedtimes.

Other tips to encourage a good night’s sleep: 

  • Avoid caffeine 
  • Have a dark, quiet, cool bedroom 
  • Avoid screen time before bed 
  • Turn off all electronic devices and televisions at least 90 minutes before bedtime